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Friday, October 22, 2010

levain chocolate chip cookies copycat #1.

Let's talk chocolate chip cookies.

Or more specifically, Levain's famous chocolate chip cookies. 

They are supposed to be a whopping 6 ounces each, tender, with a raw doughy center and of course, studded with chocolate chips. I have never been to the Levain Bakery before though, so I don't know how close I've come to the original so far. 

There is a very reliable recipe circling around, from here. I followed that recipe the first time around, but it didn't turn out as tall Levain's. So I readjusted the leavenings, replacing the baking powder AND baking soda with just baking powder, just to see if it would make any difference. Plus, I added some cornstarch to give the rumor a go. Oh, and I reduced the overall sugar amount by a 1/2 cup which is just perfect for me.

And yes, there is a difference. The cookies spread less this time and it certainly remained taller than before. I found that using solely baking powder resulted in a much chewier texture. But because I formed my cookie dough balls into 4 ounce  balls each and baked them at 190C for just 15 minutes, the center was gooey while the outer edges were chewy. 

Personally, I think the stickier the dough (but not too sticky!), the more tender the cookie. The cornstarch may not be a factor to ensure a soft cookie because I felt that there was no difference. But you could give it a go and tell me what you think.

Before baking...

If you want an raw doughy center, you gotta under bake it, right? Right.

But that means you won't get a nice thick, crunchy outer crust, right? Right.

So my brain got to work and came up with a solution: After baking the cookies, let them set up a little on the sheet before transferring them onto a cooling rack.

Yeah yeah, we know that already. 

Wait a minute! Then place the cooling rack with the cookies on it into the warm but switched off oven for, I dunno 10 minutes, with the door closed. At least that's how long I could resist before digging in!

The result? A nice crispy bottom to go with the crackly shell, all the while retaining that mmm... so melty centre. I should think that leaving the cookies in the oven for too long will still dry out the middle so don't forget about them! (Although I really think that's impossible.)

The next time, I would like to use yeast as a leavening! I heard that with yeast, the cookies will spread even less, resulting in a nice dense and chewy texture. Although what I'm really after is the height. 

Having to chomp down on a cookie like a fat hamburger is just, sigh, another kind of comfort.


  1. Oooh!!! Genius idea!!! I'm so glad you perfected this. I've always wondered about this, too. How to get the best of both worlds! bookmarking this! :D

  2. Hi Sophia! Its so nice to talk to you again! I wouldn't call this perfect but its almost there. I'll let you know when I think I've found THE one :D